Survey Shows UK Job Satisfaction and Commitment on the Decline

Published: Jan 24, 2019
Modified: Mar 26, 2020

By AMA Staff

Fewer than two-thirds of employees (64%) in the UK are satisfied with their jobs, according to the preliminary findings of a new survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting covering over 1,100 workers. This figure represents a reduction of 10% since the survey was last conducted, three years ago. Furthermore, fewer than 6 in 10 employees (59%) feel a strong sense of commitment to their organization – a 5% decline since 2002.

Dr. Patrick Gilbert, Head of Organisational Research and Effectiveness at Mercer, commented, “The employment market has become more buoyant in the last two years, so more employees are feeling restless and dissatisfied in their jobs. With more opportunities available, people often think the grass is greener elsewhere. When employment opportunities are limited, employees tend to have lower expectations and feel more satisfied with their jobs.”

Mercer also found that just 60% of employees are proud to work for their organization, and only 65% believe they have a long-term future with their current employer. “If employees respect senior management and feel their organization is performing well, they’re more likely to feel proud and committed,” said Dr. Gilbert. “Senior managers can help build long-term commitment by communicating a clear vision of the company’s future and by defining career paths for their staff. This approach can have a profound impact on organizational performance, as committed employees deliver superior service, leading to improved customer satisfaction and a long-term source of competitive advantage.”

Just half of the survey respondents thought managers understood the problems facing employees in their jobs. “Organizations that encourage two-way communication are more likely to appreciate the problems facing employees. Staff loyalty will increase if employers demonstrate empathy and support for their employees,” commented Dr. Gilbert.

The survey also found that fewer than half the respondents (46%) felt encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things. “The culture in many organizations is for management to give orders rather than gather ideas, so employees often feel unable to suggest improvements to work processes. Organizations that fail to listen to employee suggestions could be missing a trick,” said Dr. Gilbert. “Employees are closest to operational issues and customer concerns and can provide timely information on how to improve business performance.”

Note on the survey
The results of Mercer’s What’s Working Survey are based on data collected from a survey of 1,119 working adults representing a broad cross-section of industries. Respondents completed a survey about their perceptions of their job, organization, work environment, compensation, benefits and the management of their organization. The weighted survey results are representative of the entire British workforce and individual industry sectors. A similar survey was carried out in 2002.

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